10 Steps to Prepare Your Car for Winter

October 15th, 2021 by

10 Steps to Prepare Your Car for Winter

Winter can be harsh, especially to our vehicles. Even without frequent rain or snow, freezing and fluctuating temperatures can pose a danger on the road – and take a toll on your car. As the holiday season approaches, now is the best time to prepare your car for winter. By doing so, you can prevent dead batteries, unnecessary wear, and accidents. 

Keep your vehicle in peak condition this winter by following these 10 steps.


1. Check tires 

While the winter season in most areas typically comes with rain and snow, in the desert it means extreme temperature changes. If you’ve lived in an arid climate, you know that high noon can be in the 60s, while the night plummets to freezing temperatures. This yo-yoing wreaks havoc on your tires. For every 10-degree drop in temperature, your tires lose a pound of pressure.  

Because of this, it’s crucial that you check your tire pressure regularly in the winter. Driving with deflated tires can lead to tire damage, poor driving control, and lower gas mileage.  Be sure to check your owner’s manual for your vehicle’s specifications.

Additionally, check for any baldness on your tires and replace them if they’re worn. The dry heat from the summer speeds up the disintegration process, so it’s smart to check them as the seasons change. To prevent unnecessary wear, be sure to rotate your tires approximately every 7,500 miles. 

Also, it’s a good idea to keep a spare tire and jack in case of emergency. 


Cabin Air Filter Winter Car Maintenance

2. Change cabin air filter

When the seasons change, so should your cabin air filter. It’s likely your air filter put in overtime during the grueling summer months, so be sure to install a fresh one for the winter. The air filter in your HVAC system not only affects air quality but also your vehicle’s performance. Not changing it can make the HVAC work harder, causing the motor to burn up. It can also reduce the airflow to the windshield, which lengthens the amount of time it takes to defrost and can lead to decreased visibility while driving. If you have allergies or breathing problems, changing it can help with filtering pollen and pollutants while driving. 


3. Check your battery

Cold weather slows down everything, including your car battery. In fact, at freezing temperatures, a car battery can lose up to 60% of its strength. When your car’s battery is fully charged, it would need to be -76°F to freeze. However, a fully discharged battery would start freezing around 32°F.

Is your vehicle’s battery winter ready? Let one of our technicians check. Schedule a service today.


4. Replace windshield wipers

Using your windshield wipers might be a rare occurrence, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. You do not want to get caught in a rainstorm without the proper equipment. If your wiper blades are old, replace them. The summer months likely dried and cracked them, which can significantly affect their effectiveness. 


Headlights Before and After Winter Car Service

5. Check your headlights

Love it or hate it, during the winter the sun starts to set much earlier. Because of this, it’s likely you’ll spend more time commuting while it’s dark. If your headlights are foggy or yellow, it’s vital that you clean up any buildup on the lenses. Oxidized plastic can reduce your headlights illumination by 75%, which not only makes it harder for you to see but for other drives to see you. Replace any dim or damaged bulbs immediately. 


6. Make sure your brakes are in good condition

Worn brakes are dangerous year-round, but especially during the winter where roads can be slick or icy. If you’ve noticed any loud metallic sounds, vibrations, or squealing sounds while driving, it could be your brakes. Don’t forego getting them checked – bring them into a dealership service department so you can ensure they’re performing at their best. 

7. Check coolant levels

Antifreeze, or engine coolant, helps regulate your engine during extreme weather. As temperatures change from hot to cold, coolant is pumped through the engine block to maintain an even operating temperature. It also protects your engine from rust building up. Before the cold fronts, be sure to check under the hood to make sure your vehicle has enough coolant.


8. Test your heater

It’s a good idea to test if your car’s heater is working properly before you need it. If you notice reduced airflow, any pungent smells, or it takes a long time to heat up, be sure to bring it into the service department for a check-up. 


9. Protect your exterior

Wash away the dirt from summer offroading and treat your car to a fresh coat of wax. Winter weather can accelerate the rusting process, which eats away at any exposed surfaces, including your car’s body and components. To protect your exterior from harsh winter weather, be sure to wash your car regularly and apply a protective coating. If possible, park off the street or use a car cover when parking outside. 


Emergency Winter Car Kit

10. Pack an emergency winter car kit

Emergencies can happen to anyone. It’s best to prepare for the worst and keep an emergency kit inside your car at all times. Nowadays, you can even find winter car kits online. If you plan on making one yourself, we recommended keeping these items on hand:

  • First aid kit
  • Blanket
  • Extra pair clothing
  • Flashlight with batteries
  • Jumper cables
  • Bottled water
  • Multi-tool (such as a Leatherman multi-tool or a Swiss Army knife)
  • Windshield cleaner

With these 10 steps, you’ll be able to keep your vehicle running smoothly all winter long. If you need additional help on how you can prepare your car for winter, our service team is happy to assist. Schedule a service online, or contact us for more information.

Posted in Service, Tips